Joyful Confidence

JOYFUL CONFIDENCE

There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.  Because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away.  Hosea 4: 1,3

         If I turn my back on my home and strive to make some distant place my abode, I separate myself from my heritage. Out of touch with my Father, I cease to be like Him. I forget his ways.  The sound of His voice becomes a distant memory; so distant that when I hear Him calling, I may not recognize the sound of it anymore.  Separated from home, from love, I languish because every living thing God created will strain for a connection with its Creator.  Even the land mourns, hungry for God’s nurturing touch.  Can you feel the labor pangs?  Can you hear the earth groaning?

All who live apart from God today waste away.  Dreams die.  Injustice overwhelms. Futility becomes a cancer that eats away purpose.  Continue reading “Joyful Confidence”

Understanding God’s Comparison

UNDERSTANDING GOD’S COMPARISON

And it will be, like people, like priest.  Hosea 4:9

    I can understand God’s words another way.  “As the people go, so go the priests.”  We can often expect the pastors and people in ministry to be holier than we are, even to be holy for us, instead of us.  But since our religious leaders arise from among us, if we are lukewarm, then it stands to reason that many lukewarm men and women will seek to become our religious leaders.  An infected society affects the purity of the church.  We can find ourselves in a passive church and not even understand, for a while, that there is anything wrong.

Ah, but once in a while there are exceptions.  A Christian leader can arise out of obscurity, untainted by the world.  Though he was raised in our times, God cupped His hands around his spirit and preserved his conscience.  He may have tasted of this world, even sinned in a big way, but once he met Jesus, he only had eyes for the Savior.  Continue reading “Understanding God’s Comparison”

Advancement Based On What?

ADVANCEMENT BASED ON WHAT?

They (the priests) feed on the sin of My people and direct their desire toward their iniquity.  Hosea 4:8

    I want you to know that I don’t send out devotionals lightly.  Whenever I embark on the challenge of teaching a book, the text dictates the subject matter.  While I may, in the past, wanted to gravitate toward messages that underscored the Fatherhood of God and His great love for His children, that is no longer the case.  I made a vow a few years ago to honor the whole counsel of God and to be responsible with the Scriptures.

    The book of Hosea is ultimately about God’s unfailing love in the face of spiritual harlotry.  What a moving theme.  However, the book reads like a novel and a plot is always woven with light and dark threads.  Extravagant love is more beautifully highlighted when it is given to those who are undeserving.  Continue reading “Advancement Based On What?”

Wanted: Real Food

WANTED: REAL FOOD

I will reject you from being My priest since you have forgotten the law of your God. Hosea 4:6b

    The book of Hosea brings a clear message to the priests of Hosea’s day and pastors across the ages.  If any doubted the nature of their role, God erases such ambiguity through His Word to Hosea alone.  Teaching is their most important duty.  Neglect brings consequences, not only to them personally, but to the people who look to them for instruction, reproof, and encouragement.

    God will hold the unfaithful minister accountable for failing to teach.  Imagine His grief when He sees the private lives of His children fall into chaos because they lack instruction.  The ones who should be receiving knowledge, thereby equipping them to put their marriages and families in order, are languishing for want of it instead.  Where church families should overflow with radiant testimonies, tragedies are told in their place.   Continue reading “Wanted: Real Food”

Who Is Responsible?

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.  I also will reject you from being My priest, since you have forgotten the law of your God.  Hosea 4:6

    When people languish, it is not because God isn’t faithful or loving, or strong, it is due to a lack of knowledge.  People may not be completely ignorant either.  They may know just enough to convince themselves that they know enough.

    The ones ultimately responsible for making sure the people are equipped with the knowledge of God are the priests, the religious leaders.  In Hosea’s time, even they forgot God’s law.  What chance then, did the common man have!

    Can you hear the call?  Any of us who possess a knowledge of God and His Word must do two things.  Continue reading “Who Is Responsible?”

When Even a Priest Stumbles

WHEN EVEN A PRIEST STUMBLES

Your people are like those who contend with the priest, so you will stumble by day, and the prophet also will stumble with you by night.  Hosea 4:4-5

In Deuteronomy 17, God told His children that in order to live well, they needed to turn to the priests for guidance.  They would receive wisdom and spiritual direction.  During Hosea’s day, because there was no knowledge of God in the land, the priests were no longer respected.  The people argued with them instead.  They shrugged their shoulders at their words of reproof.  Things were so perilous that, not only did the people trip over themselves for want of direction, the priests did also.  The priest’s spiritual condition was no better than that of the common man.

It is impossible to read the story of Hosea and the times in which he lived and not look in the mirror.  Continue reading “When Even a Priest Stumbles”

The Complicated Way Home

THE COMPLICATED WAY HOME

“I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from Me; For now, O Ephraim, you have played the harlot.”  Hosea 4:3

            Harlotry was second nature to me.  It was far too easy to substitute my need for God for other people and other things because they satisfied for a while.  Consequently, I felt no impending crisis.  There were few clues that spiritual prostitution would lead me to the dead-end street of emotional bankruptcy.  I was on a journey to no-where, though the road signs promised otherwise.  I ended up lost and far from home.

            My circuitous path was not hidden from God.  Though I was off course and disoriented, He had memorized my wayward excursion.  He remembered each fork in the road and which way I chose to go.  Though I ended up feeling like a rat in a maze who couldn’t seem to find its way back, God held the map.  Continue reading “The Complicated Way Home”